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Kibaki, Raila speak on the state of Coalition Government

By | February 28th 2011 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Three years have elapsed since President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga signed the National Accord to end post-election chaos. The two principals take stock of the progress made and what remains to be done. Here are excerpts of their message to Kenyans.

Kibaki: Let’s keep reform spirit burning despite hurdles

On this third anniversary of the Grand Coalition Government, we reflect on the road we have travelled over the past three years to draw lessons on the road ahead.

President Mwai Kibaki

By and large, I am happy to note that in spite of a variety of challenges, the letter and spirit of the National Accord has prevailed.

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I thank all Kenyans for their enduring commitment to the accord, which has enabled the coalition Government to succeed in managing the affairs of our country.

The Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation Committee identified four main reform agenda items identified as critical to address the causes of the national crisis we experienced, reconciling our various communities and preventing future conflicts.

So far, we have made tremendous progress to address these reform agenda items.

The signing of the National Accord enabled us to end the post-election violence and restore peace in early 2008.

It also enabled us to address the humanitarian crisis through resettlement of IDPs and to resolve the political crisis through the creation of the coalition Government. In addition, we established the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission as well as the National Cohesion and Integration Commission.

Similarly, we created the Independent Review Commission on the 2007 General Election and the Commission of Inquiry into the Post-Election Violence.

productive dialogue

We have also made commendable progress as regards the fourth agenda. Most notably, we have, after two decades of fruitless effort, succeeded in adopting a new Constitution, which Kenyans approved in a referendum held on August 4 and promulgated the new Constitution on August 27, last year. With the new Constitution in place, the next step is to implement it.

I am happy that we are making good progress in this regard. So far, the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution has been established under Section 5 of the sixth schedule of the Constitution.

The Commission on Revenue Allocation has also been established under Article 215 of the Constitution. Similarly, the eight members of the Judicial Service Commission have been appointed and were sworn in on January 11.

I appreciate that there will be challenges in implementing the Constitution. As the Executive branch of Government, we will engage in productive dialogue with Parliament and the Judiciary to address such challenges as may arise from time to time.

I want, therefore, to assure all Kenyans that the challenges we have experienced in the past few weeks should not be cause for worry. I am committed to the successful implementation of the constitution and I urge all stakeholders to join hands so that we can open a new chapter of prosperity for our country.

In addition, we have also made progress to address unemployment. We have taken a wide range of measures to create employment opportunities particularly for the youth.

These measures include the strengthening of the Youth Enterprise Fund, the Women Enterprise Development Fund and the Kazi kwa Vijana programme.

In spite of this progress, we are aware that these schemes are not adequate to deal with the millions of young people desiring decent jobs.

For this reason, the Government is engaging in massive infrastructure projects that generate a wide range of employment opportunities for the youth. To eradicate poverty and create more opportunities for employment, we have also pursued sound economic policies while paying attention to Vision 2030.

I note that after a period of slow growth in the past two years, the economy has turned around and recorded a 5.4 per cent growth rate last year. This improved performance is expected to continue over the next two years, with a forecast of between 6.5 and 8 per cent by 2012.

I acknowledge that there are many challenges that remain to be addressed. I am aware that some IDPs are yet to be resettled. The Government has set aside resources to resettle all genuine IDPs.

Finally I appeal to all Kenyans to remain united and focused on the work ahead. Let us always remember there is so much that unites us. We are one nation, one people. Let us commit Kenya to the Almighty God who has seen us through this period. Thank you and God bless our country.

Raila: Never again should politics turn us against one another

The Peace Accord, whose third anniversary we mark today, was a remarkable act of compromise with an unforgettable offer of help by the international community.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga

I always knew the decision by President Kibaki and myself to agree to share power was momentous. But its real magnitude struck me when I travelled to Ivory Coast to mediate in the election dispute there.

I landed in a once prosperous and stable African country, the one-time jewel of the Francophone Africa, now struggling to stand with two presidents, two prime ministers, two Cabinets, two militaries and two ‘State Houses’ all running the same country.

It struck me how much we can save, and how much we did save by just agreeing to compromise.

We missed the Ivory Coast route and collapse by a whisker in 2008. That is why February 28 will forever remain in our collective memories as the day we made a commitment as a people never to take up arms against fellow citizens again.

On this day, we committed to reform our governance and electoral systems to ensure we shall never go to the polls again and come out claiming not to know the winner as a result of incompetence and lack of professionalism on the part of those we trust with managing our elections.

We shall forever be indebted to Dr Kofi Annan, President Jakaya Kikwete, President Benjamin Mkapa and Madam Graca Machel for putting their integrity to severe test in standing up for Kenya.

I pay tribute to our own leaders who, divided along party lines, all the same constituted themselves into negotiating teams and came up with a working document that formed the basis of the Peace Accord. And we shall never forget the role of the European Union and the US in helping our country rediscover itself and find a route out of the chaos and the precipice.

The Accord did save lives. It saved our economy and it gave us a second chance. There have been many false starts in this pioneering experiment of Grand Coalition Government, but that was to be expected. The experiment we were embarking on was new not just to us in Kenya but also to the entire continent of Africa. We embarked on it in the enduring belief that because of the exceptional circumstances our country found itself in, we would improvise as we went a long, hoping that the luck of history would be on our side.

The Accord came with the proviso that we would address the immediate and long term causes of the violence. We agreed to do everything to blunt the ethnic jealousies and address the economic hungers and inequities that were identified as the root causes of this conflict.

A lot has been achieved; but much is pending. Our economy is up and competitive again. We can say that we emerged out of the chaos, sadder but wiser, and that is why we were able to give ourselves a new Constitution last year, after many failed attempts.

spirit of compromise

We have revamped our agriculture, invested heavily in infrastructure and made serious attempts to address poverty, unemployment and inequality through interventions like the Economic Stimulus Package, Kazi kwa Vijana and revamped women and youth funds, rural electrification and provision of water to remote and dry parts of the country. We have made significant gains in the war on corruption and impunity, although a lot remains to be done. I am convinced that none of these would have been achieved had we not agreed to compromise and sign the Accord.

After signing the document, I toured parts of the country, sometimes with the President. The evidence of destruction and mayhem was everywhere. People nursing bullet wounds and deep panga cuts occupied hospital beds. Mortuaries were teeming with bodies and families were burying their dead. Everywhere, there was anger, suspicion and distrust.

But we still have a lot to do to consolidate the peace and trust. In our years of independence, the election violence of 2008 stands as the saddest, the most reckless and the cruelest. It should never have happened.

I remain extremely confident that if the Constitution we endorsed last year is implemented and respected, it will deal with most of the issues that took us to war. I commit to explore all avenues to sustain the spirit of compromise that gave birth to this Government.

Kibaki Raila National Accord
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